If you are like many patients who had been anxiously awaiting their joint replacement surgery and recently had it delayed due to COVID-19, you may be wondering what you can do to manage your pain and prepare for your upcoming surgery. Eric Smith, MD, FAOA, Chief of Arthroplasty at NEBH, explains that there are several things you can do to plan for your surgery, which can help ensure a more successful outcome.
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be taken to help manage your pain
- Avoid NSAIDS (ibuprofen or naproxen) as we don’t yet know how they interact with corona virus.
- Ice your affected joint
- Ice can help numb the area and reduce swelling. Keep the ice on for 20 minutes at a time (no longer as this can cause ice burns).
- Use assistive devices when walking around
- Use a cane, countertop, or the back of a chair to ease the force on the arthritic joint.
- Use this time to ensure you are in the best shape possible for your surgery
- Watch your weight
- When a person is even slightly overweight, it can add stress to their joints, especially their weight-bearing joints like the knees and hips. Every pound of weight gained puts an extra 3-5 pounds of pressure on knee joints. Losing weight can help reduce pain and restore function in joints, especially when paired with exercise and a healthy diet. Click here for some tips on eating healthy.
- Exercise to keep your joints moving
- Exercise has a number of health benefits for those living with arthritis, including decreased pain and fatigue, increased strength and flexibility, and improved ability to manage symptoms or prevent injury. Click here for tips on staying active with arthritis.
- Meditation can help you deal with your pain and tolerate your condition. There are many apps and books available that can help lead you through guided mediation.
Remember to always check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program. Stop any exercise that increases your pain.